This is an odd game at an odd time. It is really difficult to predict the outcome for some reason today. On the one hand, I seriously worry that because of the absolute rubbish performances of the last few weeks by everyone – D, O, ST, coaches, players – the Packers could get buried by a Lions team that can have a virtually unstoppable offense. Calvin Johnson has never been better, Reggie Bush has added exactly the dimension to this team that I thought he would and Stafford has been playing pretty well. But the key to this game may be the quiet return of Nate Burleson. Burleson was productive in his first week back last week, and in Burleson, Stafford has somewhere else to throw when Johnson is doubled/blanketed. This makes the Detroit offense really scary because Stafford then has 2 very good WRs as outlets, a great pass-catching RB, and though they don’t get many targets Stafford’s TEs Fauria and Pettigrew have been particularly productive in the red zone. The bottom line is that this is a legit offense that should tear apart the Packers porous defense. Unless of course, that productive, tough-playing Packer defense that flashed for moments against super weak teams earlier in the year somehow surfaces today. Doubt it. Keep in mind, Detroit hung in there at Lambeau earlier this year when we had Rodgers and they didn’t have Calvin.
Key to the game will be the Packers offense. If Flynn and Lacy can get things going and stay in the game, there is a chance the Packers could pull out what would definitely be an upset victory (Lions are favored by 6.5). The Lions also have the meltdown factor working against them. Like a person suffering from self-esteem issues, the Lions are so often cursed by self-sabotaging behavior that can almost single-handedly thwart victory. Seems the higher the stakes, the more likely the Lions are to meltdown – doing some alarmingly stupid things at times. Also, throw in there that the Packers (and Sitton) are clearly worked up for this game and suddenly the thought of a blowout Lions victory seems less likely.
It remains sad in my mind that our Packers team is so below average without Rodgers. One guy shouldn’t make this big of a difference. A convincing victory here today by the Packers could flip this “we’re nothing without Rodgers” narrative.
So here is my final, sort of, prediction:
- Packers 24, Lions 23 – 38% chance
- Lions 40, Packers 16 – 62% chance